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Board of Governors and Senate notes: December 2019

Concordia President Graham Carr wraps up a successful year
January 7, 2020
By Howard Bokser

Board of Governors and Senate notes: December 2019

BOARD NOTES: Board appoints Graham Carr as president and vice-chancellor and learns of the Concordia University Foundation’s commitment to reach 100 per cent sustainable investments in five years

Update from Concordia’s president

At its meeting on December 11, the Board of Governors announced the appointment of Graham Carr as Concordia’s president and vice-chancellor for a five-year term. The search for the university’s new provost and vice-president, academic, a position now held on an interim basis by Anne Whitelaw, will begin in 2020.

Carr told the Board he was glad to deliver his update at the close of a strong year. His printed report included many good-news items, including the recent $10-million gift from the Amelia & Lino Saputo Jr. Foundation and the Mirella & Lino Saputo Foundation to create the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation.

Among other news, Carr informed the Board that:

  • The university recently wrapped up its most successful Concordia Centraide Campaign, which with matching gifts will result in about $190,000 raised for the community organization.
  • On December 6, Concordia’s Women in Engineering student association organized a candlelit vigil to mark the murder of 14 women at Polytechnique Montréal 30 years before.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the John Molson MBA as the top business school in Quebec and fourth best in Canada, as well as first in the country for entrepreneurship.
  • The Concordia men’s rugby team placed fourth in the national championships, while the women’s hockey team — which has the highest GPA of all of the varsity sports teams — had only one loss in its first 10 games.
  • On December 3, Concordia International and the European Commission's EURAXESS North America hosted a panel discussion at Concordia on the future of scientific collaboration between Canada and the European Union.

Report on Compliance with Environmental Legislation and Health and Safety Regulations

Roger Côté, vice-president of services, delivered his quarterly Report on Compliance with Environmental Legislation and Health and Safety Regulations, which covered the period of July to September 2019.

Among other findings, he disclosed that there were 34 roof-safety risk assessments performed covering 52 building roofs. The Environmental Health and Safety team discovered 588 non-compliance citations, which confirmed that these types of assessments are necessary.

Governance and Ethics Committee recommendation

The Board approved an amendment to its by-laws presented by Françoise Bertrand, representing the Governance and Ethics Committee, concerning student eligibility requirements to serve on the university’s governing bodies. The amendment better aligns the by-laws with the recent changes to the Senate’s student eligibility requirements.

Presentation on Concordia University Foundation sustainable investments

Carr informed the Board that the Concordia University Foundation, as announced at the November 8 Senate meeting, has committed to end investments in the coal, oil and gas sectors within five years. It also set a target of reaching 100 per cent sustainable investments by 2025 and doubling its social or environmental impact investment.

Howard Davidson (BComm 80), chair of the board of the foundation, reported that it has $243 million in assets and has followed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) since 2018. Concordia is one of a handful of universities among the 1,800 international investors that follow the PRI.

Denis Cossette, the foundation’s secretary-treasurer and Concordia’s chief financial officer, added that the John Molson School of Business recently signed a partnership agreement with Manulife Investment Management that will establish the first sustainable investing practicum at a Canadian university.

Carr said: “What we’re describing here sets the benchmark for what a next-gen university looks like.”

SENATE NOTES: Senate approves framework for the Baccalaureate by Accumulation

Concordia President Graham Carr welcomed members of Senate to its meeting on December 13. Among other news, Carr informed Senate that:

  • Concordia celebrated its 1,000-plus new graduates at the fall 2019 convocation ceremonies on November 18.
  • Manon Tremblay returned to the university as the new senior director of Indigenous Directions, while Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf, who served as interim senior director, moved to a new role as director of decolonizing curriculum and pedagogy.
  • One hundred and fifty Concordia students who participated as part of their coursework in a pilot program called CityStudio Montreal presented their work at Marché Bonsecours on December 4.
  • The District 3 Innovation Center, with the support of the City of Montreal, hosted Biohealth Innovation Week in December.
  • At the Long Service and Retirement Luncheon, Concordia honoured 250 staff and faculty, including professors Frank Chalk and Fred Szabo, who both celebrated 55 years at the university.

Carr echoed the sentiments of Norman Hébert Jr., chair of the Board, and encouraged Senate members to support the Student Emergency and Food Fund, which provides Concordia students in need with short-term relief, and to donate gently used clothing to the International Students Office.

He also let Senate know, “I am privileged and honoured to be named president.”

Academic update

Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic, asked members of Senate to refer to her online academic report. In addition, she congratulated the John Molson MBA for being named by Bloomberg Businessweek as the number one business school in Quebec and number four in Canada, and finishing atop its national entrepreneurship rankings.

Motion regarding Concordia University Foundation

Senate approved a motion that the body “applaud the Concordia University Foundation for its decision on sustainable investment” and “express its deep appreciation for the research work and tireless advocacy efforts of the university’s students, faculty and staff who have been engaged with the topic of responsible investing through various groups and interventions over the years.”

Undergraduate curriculum proposal for Baccalaureate by Accumulation

Sandra Gabriele, vice-provost of innovation in teaching and learning, presented an explanation of the proposed Baccalaureate by Accumulation to Senate. Once developed, Concordia would offer 90-credit bachelor’s degrees earned by combining three 30-credit certificates of study.

She pointed out that such micro-credentials are gaining ground in the changing workforce and that Quebec universities such as HEC Montréal and UQAM have offered this option for many years.

Senate approved the motion to create a framework for the Baccalaureate by Accumulation.

Graduate curriculum proposal for Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy

Senate approved a proposal by Paula Wood-Adams, dean of graduate studies, to add a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy to the Department of Creative Arts Therapies curriculum.

Recognition of Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering Research Centre

As requested by Christophe Guy, vice-president of research and graduate studies and chair of the Senate’s Research Committee, Senate recognized the Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering Research Centre as a university research unit.

Find out more about Concordia’s Senate and Board of Governors.

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